Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wizard: The Comics Magazine #136: Ultimate DC Atom (January, 2003)

Wizard Magazine was a, shall we say, polarizing presence in comics over the course of its near twenty year run. I bought it for the first several issues for reasons that escape me, seeing as how they were pretty terrible. I very much preferred Amazing Heroes, but it was black and white without a price guide, so Wizard slaughtered them in short order. The quality improved dramatically within the first year, and held until sometime in the 30s, by which point the few legitimate journalists/interviewers/feature writers they had bailed. The format then fully embraced the mentality of a lad mag for geeks with market manipulation at its core.

The joint was full of frustrated wannabe writers who seemed to think every comic should be like the X-Men, and started commissioning artists to help them put together fan fiction proposals to articulate that viewpoint. What a wet dream it must have been when Marvel Comics launched a new side line of entry-level books unburdened by continuity featuring their biggest stars. Once the Ultimate line hit big, everyone turned their eyes to DC to see when they would do the same. Proving once again "DC" somehow stands for "Superman and Batman" Comics, the company has offered two Ultimate knock-off lines consisting of two series each. Aside from an acclaimed Superman story, lateness has defined all of DC's attempts, to the point where the Batman book of the second line will probably come out before the one from the first line wraps up, and lord knows if Adam Hughes' take on All-Star Wonder Woman will ever see the light of day.

Seen from that perspective, the Wizard staff's low concepts for Ultimate DC aren't nearly as narrow and unimaginative as they seemed in 2003. Then again, two wrongs don't exactly make a right, do they?

Like the Martian Manhunter, the Ultimate Atom was relegated to the supporting cast in Ultimate JLA. While it sucks to be a designated team player instead of a solo star, I find this Atom revision a lot more interesting than Ryan Choi. The costume is more her own, and even a Peter Parker personality would have been more original if applied to a heroine.
SUPPORTING CAST: Filling out the JLA's ranks is the Atom, a female scientist. In addition to shrinking her size to that of an atom, she can also adjust her body's mass while small.

Aside from appearing in silhouette on Green Lantern John Stewart's shoulder in a group shot and taking advantage of a camera's perspective to show up in battle against Despero, that's all they wrote for Ultimate Atom. Both pieces of art were by Ken Lashley and his Draxhall Jump Studios.

Ultimate DC Day continues here...
Ultimate Batman and Aquaman
Ultimate Wonder Woman @ Diana Prince
Ultimate Green Lantern, Flash, and Superman @ DC Bloodlines
Ultimate JLA @ The Idol-Head of Diabolu

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